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What has the war in Afghanistan really achieved?

At least 60 people died in a suicide bombing just 25 miles from Kabul yesterday. In a few days’ time, a report on Afghanistan from the International Crisis Group will say that violence and the billions of dollars in international aid have brought wealthy officials and insurgents together. As a result, “the economy is increasingly dominated by a criminal oligarchy of politically connected businessmen”. The negatives column in the Afghan war’s balance sheet does not get any shorter. So far, the conflict has lasted nine years, eight months and 17 days, cost the lives of 2,547 coalition troops, and between 14,000 and 34,000 civilians, created millions of refugees, and opened up a black hole in…